Why is the helm of a boat on the starboard side?

When you think about a boat, one of the first things that likely comes to mind is the captain at the helm. And if you’ve spent any time on the water, you may have noticed that the helm – or steering wheel – is almost always located on the starboard side of the boat. But have you ever wondered why this is the case?

There are a few different theories as to why the helm is typically located on the starboard side of a boat. One popular explanation is that it dates back to the days of sailing ships, when the majority of sailors were right-handed. In order to have a clear view of the sails and the wind direction, the captain would stand on the opposite side of the ship – the starboard side – leaving their right hand free to steer the vessel.

Another theory is that having the helm on the starboard side allows for easier docking and mooring. When a boat is approaching a dock or pier, the captain will often steer the vessel alongside the dock with the starboard side facing towards the dock. This allows the crew to easily step off the boat and onto the dock without having to navigate around the steering wheel.

While these are both plausible explanations for why the helm is typically located on the starboard side of a boat, there’s no definitive answer as to why this became the convention. In fact, there are some boats – particularly those designed for use in certain regions of the world – where the helm is located on the port side instead.

Regardless of why the helm is located on the starboard side of a boat, it’s an important part of operating any vessel safely and effectively. The captain must be skilled in steering the boat, interpreting navigation charts and weather conditions, and communicating with the crew to ensure that everyone is working together to reach their destination safely. So the next time you’re out on the water and you notice the helm on the starboard side of the boat, take a moment to appreciate the history and tradition behind this important piece of boating equipment.

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